The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

~Albert Einstein

May proved to be another exciting month.  My house for sale ad was picked up by scammers.  They wasted no time listing it as “For Rent” on Craig’s List.  In a surprise to me, my house now includes a play ground, a car park, air conditioning, and a fire pit!  All for $900/month AND all utilities included!  The nice gentleman trying to rent my house had to move to Florida ASAP  “to work and contribute to (W.H.O.) And also functioning in the house of GOD.” Umm Huh!!  I don’t think my God is the same as his god. 

In good news, Craig’s list took the ad down immediately.

And making the rounds again:  Email claiming to have hacked your router/email/camera with the intent of releasing “dirty laundry” and erasing your hard drive unless they receive $7,768 in bitcoin within 48 hours. 

Things to know about this email:  First, it is a scam. Email lists are cheap.  I priced email lists.  Generic lists of 1000 names can be purchased for as little as $100.  If just one person on the list takes the bait, the scammer has netted $7,668.  (Remind me again, Why do I work for a living?)

Second, they can’t access your camera if you have it turned  off or unplugged.  To turn it off (or on):  Click the start button (square in bottom left of your screen), Click on Settings, Click on Privacy, navigate to Camera in the left pane.  In the right pane, click the change button to turn the camera off or on.  If you need the camera for an online meeting, repeat these steps to turn it back on. 

Third, router manufacturers do release updates/patches for their equipment.  Each router manufacture has specific instructions for how to upgrade their device.  If you need assistance with router upgrades, we are here to help.

Working from home and the popularity of Zoom created some buzz in May as well.  Customers have worried about being scammed into installing fake updates.  The Zoom website states there are two types of updates:

Manual updates for minor enhancements and/or minor bug fixes can be downloaded from the download center or when instructed by the support team.

Important downloads with useful feature enhancements and/or critical bug fixes will download automatically or prompt the user to download when there is no meeting in progress. 

And Toms Guide (https://www.tomsguide.com/news/zoom-security-privacy-woes) pointed out an alternative option for using Zoom.  Instead of downloading the software, which will need to be patched, you can use the web version instead.  The web browser gets security enhancements faster and it doesn’t have the permissions an installed app has, which limits the harm it can cause.  The next time you click a link to join a meeting, instead of using the desktop software, read the fine print and click the link to “join from your browser” instead.

Stay Safe and Carry On!

~ Janet

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